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After Oxygen Shortage, Many Hospitals in Delhi to Reduce Beds, Stop Admissions

© REUTERS / DANISH SIDDIQUIPatients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen inside the ICU ward at Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi, India
Patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen inside the ICU ward at Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi, India - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.05.2021
For the past two weeks, hospitals in Delhi have been sending out desperate messages, alerts for emergency oxygen supplies. In April, more than 50 patients in different hospitals died due to a shortage of oxygen.

Days after at least 12 patients, including one senior doctor, died at one of Delhi's most prominent hospitals, the Batra Hospital as oxygen stocks ran out, the authorities have confirmed that they are planning to reduce the number of beds available because they're still struggling for oxygen supplies.

Dr Sudhanshu Bankata, executive director of the Batra Hospital, said: "We have informed our patients and posted signs that we won't be taking new admissions. We have also conveyed to the government that we can't work with the limited supply of oxygen".

According to another official at the hospital, who didn't wish to be named, "The hospital has 450 beds, all are occupied. Out of 450, currently, 200 patients are on oxygen support. We can't ask the patient to leave in the middle of the treatment, but, as their symptoms turn mild, we will discharge them", they told Sputnik. 

​The Batra Hospital is not alone. Many large hospitals in Delhi are not taking any new admissions and are trying to reduce beds

Last week, North Delhi's biggest facility, the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital decided to decrease its capacity from 650 to 350 COVID beds. Similarly, the GTB Hospital, one of the largest in the captial, has reduced its capacity from 1,500 to 700 beds for coronavirus patients.

Delhi is currently battling an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, if hospitals reduce the number of beds, it will severely impact the city's fight against the pandemic. 

The second wave of the pandemic has resulted in an acute shortage of basic facilities like beds, ventilators, oxygen supplies, and drugs as hospitals struggle to hold together the city's healthcare infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, India recorded 368,147 new COVID-19 cases, taking the cumulative tally to 19.9 million cases.

Delhi alone reported more than 20,000 new infections and 407 deaths on Sunday.

Need Help From Army to Transport Oxygen, Says Delhi Government

The Delhi government, on Monday, sought the help of the Indian Army to transport oxygen to hospitals that need it urgently. 

"Yesterday, Delhi received 440 MT of oxygen, which is lower than the allocated quota of 590 MT. We need 976 MT daily as we are increasing the number of beds", Delhi Deputy Chief Manish Sisodia said.

Hospitals Sending SOS Alerts to Government

Many hospitals on Sunday sounded the alarm on Twitter over shortages of oxygen, the city's Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital raised an alert saying more than 25 newborns faced a threat due to inconsistent oxygen supply.

The Jaipur Golden Hospital also took to social media, saying they possess enough oxygen for only three hours. 

On early Monday morning, the Jeevan Anmol Hospital in East Delhi sounded a similar alarm. 

On 24 April, at least 20 coronavirus patients in Delhi died after the Jaipur Golden Hospital ran out of oxygen. A day earlier, 25 of the "sickest" coronavirus patients died at the city's Sir Ganga Ram Hospital amid a last-minute scramble for oxygen. 

Similar tragic incidents have been reported in several other parts of the country.

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